Your trees are what bring life to your home. The color, the way they move in the breeze, and shade they provide your home all add the beauty of your Bellingham property. While your priorities may lie inside the house when it comes to caring for the home, we believe that you should pay close attention to the trees and other plants you have in your yard, as well. Now that springtime is here and summer is rapidly approaching, you might find yourself dealing with common tree pests. Read on to learn more from Whatcom Tree Service!


Aphids, also known as “plant lice,” is a common problem when it comes to trees. They feed on the leaves of the trees and their stems, which prevents these plants from getting the nutrients and sunlight that they need in order to stay healthy. In order to tell if your tree has an aphid issue, look for signs of curling leaves, dying twigs, a sugary substance called “honeydew,” black mold, and stunted growth. You can control an aphid issue with horticultural soap treatments or insecticides if need be. As soon as you spot symptoms, contact an arborist to get more details.


These hungry insects can lead to huge problems for your tree! They like to eat away at the leaves your tree is so desperately trying to grow, which steals the nutrients from your tree. You may notice leaves that have been chewed into looking ragged, and the leaves may fall in spring instead of fall. Elms, oaks, apple trees, maple trees, lindens, beech trees, cherry trees, hickory, and ash trees are the most likely victims of cankerworms, so keep that in mind if you have one of these trees on your property. Focus on prevention in the fall and checking to see if your trees need treatment in the spring.

Japanese Beetle

The Japanese beetle feeds on the leaves of the tree during warm, sunny days. These beetles will eat the entire leaf, leaving behind only the skeleton of the leaf. Their main tree targets include myrtle, birch, littleleaf linden, crabapple, purple leaf plum, Japanese maple, and Norway maple trees. In order to detect these beetles, look for chunks of leaves that have been chewed down to the veins. You may also notice that the top of the tree’s canopy may be browning and that leaves are beginning to fall in the summer before the weather cools. The best time to treat your tree to prevent or cure it of Japanese beetles is in the heart of summer: from mid-June all the way through August.

Eastern Tent Caterpillar

These pesky caterpillars like to chew on the foliage of the tree, leaving behind webs and very unsightly appearances. For some trees, including the black cherry tree, these caterpillars are a very serious problem. They are most likely to feed on black cherry trees, ash, birch, sweetgum, willow, maple, and oak trees. If you notice a large amount of silky looking webs that accompany tree leaf loss, you are likely not dealing with spiders at all. Clip and destroy their tents, but wait until winter to handle it. An arborist can also apply a treatment to control the larvae.


These little bugs eat the plant sap from new and tender leaves. If you notice yellow spots or curling on your tree leaves, this is a good sign that you have whiteflies. Also, you may notice premature leaf drops, black fungus, and lots of ants running around. You can get rid of whiteflies by using traps. The good news is, whiteflies do not pose an immediate threat, so oftentimes other insects will eat the whiteflies for you.


Bagworms eat tree leaves, usually without being detected, until the severe damage has already been done. Affected trees usually have webs in them—similar to those of the eastern tent caterpillar—as well as chewed leaves, leaf loss, and branch death with no regrowth. The most common victims of bagworms are juniper, arborvitae, poplar, elm, birch, cedar, spruce, honeylocust, linden, willow, oak, and maple trees. You can treat these trees by handpicking and destroying all the bags. If this is not reasonable, an arborist may be able to recommend an insecticide. As soon as you spot the bags they leave, begin removing them.

Contact Our Tree Service Professionals

Don’t let pests and other problems hurt your trees. By paying close attention to your yard and trees, you can ensure that your summer remains pest-free and your trees stay healthy. To learn more about Whatcom Tree Service and how we can help your Bellingham home, contact us today! We look forward to giving you the yard you’ve always dreamed of having. Schedule your appointment with us and let us know what your concerns are. We work with all parts of tree care, including felling, trimming, removal, and stump grinding.